Cricket World Cup: India v New Zealand semi-final betting preview and tips

Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul of India
Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul of India

Richard Mann has a couple of fancies for India's Cricket World Cup semi-final clash against New Zealand at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

Recommended bets

4pts India first wicket partnership over 34.5 at 5/6

2pts Ross Taylor top New Zealand batsman at 11/2


Having topped the group standings, India now head the betting at 15/8 to claim Cricket World Cup glory for the second time in only three renewals following their victory on home soil back in 2011.

MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli remain from that squad and their seamless progress to the last-four in England, which has seen them only meet defeat on one occasion, has set up a semi-final clash with New Zealand.

The Kiwis began the competition in terrific form themselves, winning their opening five completed matches after their group match with India was abandoned due to rain, but their form tailed off thereafter and they go into Tuesday's clash on the back of three straight defeats.

As such, it is no surprise to see that India are as short as 3/10 to progress to Sunday's final with New Zealand as big as 5/2.

Despite picking up more than their fair of share injuries already, India look to have most bases covered and KL Rahul's hundred in their final group match against Sri Lanka could well prove to be the final piece of the jigsaw for Kohli's side, the opening batsman finally beginning to deliver the runs and panache on the international stage that we have seen from him in the IPL over the last few years.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul

With fellow opener Rohit Sharma making hundreds for the fun and Jasprit Bumrah leading a bowling attack that has spin, pace and and plenty of guile, India should have too many guns for a New Zealand side currently relying too heavily on Kane Williamson with the bat.

As ever, Williamson is short enough at 5/2 to be New Zealand's top batsman but I remain convinced that Ross Taylor is in excellent form himself and he is just too big at 11/2 in the same market.

Taylor looked sure to oblige when I put him up against England last week, cruising to 28 until running himself out, and with Kiwi top order still struggling for runs, I have to stick with him to continue what has been a fine year for the veteran number four.

Sharma did us a big favour when top scoring with another brilliant hundred for India against Pakistan earlier in the tournament but that horse has bolted now and I'm happy to leave him alone at 9/4 given he was 10/3 in the same market only a few matches ago.

That said, I still expect India to start strongly with the bat once again and the 5/6 available for Sharma and Rahul to put on +34.5 for the opening wicket looks very fair.

In India's last two matches, the pair have put on 180 against Bangladesh and 189 against Sri Lanka to confirm just how well their partnership is beginning gel and the Indian strategy of taking their time early to conserve wickets certainly lends itself to a bet like this.

Match preview and quotes

Virat Kohli is contented with his understated role in India's batting line-up at the World Cup as he admitted the pressure is constantly on his side ahead of their semi-final showdown against New Zealand.

Kohli is often held up as the gold standard in one-day internationals, with 41 centuries at an average approaching 60 helping him top the format's ICC batting rankings.

However, he has yet to reach three figures in this tournament, with Rohit Sharma India's standout performer with the bat so far.

The opener became the first man to register five centuries in a single World Cup campaign, contributing 103 - his third hundred in a row - to help India brush aside Sri Lanka over the weekend and finish top of the group table.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma

Kohli, though, is happy to defer to his team-mate - now second in the world rankings - saying on the eve of their clash against the Kiwis at Old Trafford: "It's been a different kind of role that I've had to play in this World Cup.

"As the captain of this team, I've been open to playing any kind of role that the team wants me to. It's great that Rohit is scoring so consistently.

"I've been very happy with holding one end and letting guys express themselves. I know that I can accelerate in the end. Personal milestones, honestly, is something that no one ever focuses on.

"But I hope he gets two more (hundreds) so that we can win two more games because it's an outstanding achievement, we've never seen anyone get five hundreds in a World Cup.

"World Cup is all the more pressure and he's just been outstanding. He deserves all the credit and, according to me, he's at the moment the top ODI player in the world."

Meanwhile, Kane Williamson has argued every team in the last four of the World Cup are capable of beating one another as he expressed his indifference at New Zealand's status as underdogs.

The Black Caps squeaked into the knockout stages ahead of Pakistan by virtue of their superior net run-rate, finishing fourth in the table to set up a semi-final showdown against India at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

Kane Williamson of New Zealand
Kane Williamson of New Zealand

New Zealand's campaign has stuttered with three consecutive defeats while they have lost each of the last three bilateral one-day international series meetings against their next opponents.

India triumphed 4-1 on New Zealand soil earlier this year but the Kiwis' lone success - their penultimate ODI meeting - saw them skittle the Asian giants for 92 in Hamilton.

Williamson said: "Whoever you play, every side has the belief that you get to this point, you can go all the way. To do that, you basically have to beat everyone.

"It's one of those occasions where every team works so hard to end up in the last four where to a certain extent it all starts again where the day comes and anything can happen.

"All sides have beaten one another on a number of occasions throughout the last few years, so it's a really exciting opportunity for all teams.

"We are in the top four now and I think if we are reflecting back on the round-robin we definitely deserve to be here. That is reflected in the standings.

"Whether we are underdogs or not, it doesn't really matter. Its about how we turn up and how we commit to the plans we want to implement and try to play with that freedom."

Williamson has been New Zealand's batting linchpin with 481 runs at a phenomenal average of 96.2, while he is the only member of his side to reach three figures in this tournament, having done so twice.

Ross Taylor is the next best New Zealand batsman on the list, more than 200 runs back, but Williamson insists he is not feeling any undue burden.

Ross Taylor
Ross Taylor

He said: "I look at my role as a role and it's one of 11 guys that do try to play their role to the best of their ability.

"After a very busy and fairly long round-robin series, it's important that guys take that fresh mindset going into (Tuesday) with a really exciting opportunity in front of them.

"I think there's also been a number of contributions that have been really important in order for us to get where we are right now.

"Whether that's a lower score in terms of an individual, it's still been very significant chasing totals down which we've done well in the earlier stages of the competition.

"From my perspective, it's going out and trying to play my role as best I can to try and move the team forward and that doesn't change."

Williamson and India counterpart Virat Kohli have been the captains of their respective sides in another World Cup semi-final - at Under-19 level 11 years ago.

Kohli claimed the bragging rights on that day and even managed to bag the key wicket of Williamson.

When reminded of that, Williamson said: "Oh dear. He used to be an all-rounder back in the day but he hasn't bowled as much recently.

"I guess that's kind of cool that a few years later we're here again, perhaps on a slightly different stage. It's pretty special in a lot of respects to be able to lead your country out in a semi-final on the biggest stage."

Posted at 1700 BST on 08/07/19.

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